Eternalism, broadly speaking, is the view that all entities, past, present and future, exist. From this point of agreement, eternalists can be divided into two very different competing theories – the A-theory and the B-theory. For A-theoretical eternalists, the past, present, and future all exist but the present moment is objectively privileged. This is the view normally called the Moving Spotlight Theory. Alternatively, for B-theorists and C-theorists, eternalism is the picture of time delivered to us by the special and general theories of relativity. B-/C-theoretic, or standard, eternalists hold, roughly, that (i) all times from the big-bang to the heat death of the universe exist equally; (ii) there is nothing metaphysically special about the present (terms like 'present' and 'now' are indexical notions); (iii) the passage of time is not an objective feature of reality. Standard eternalism is also known as the 'block universe' view, which is meant to suggest a conception of the universe as a four-dimensional spacetime manifold.
Mellor 1998 offers a book length defense of the eternalist model of time and discusses many of the issues and arguments surrounding the view. For early defenders of the view seeWilliams 1951, who offers an argument for eternalism, Taylor 1955, who argues for a lack of clear difference between time and space, and Callender 2017 who looks at the difference between time and space for the B-theorist eternalist. [BROKEN REFERENCE: PUTTAPand] [BROKEN REFERENCE: RIEARPadvocate] for an eternalist model of time based on the special theory of relativity, and Smart 1963 holds that eternalism results from dropping our pre-scientific, anthropocentric view of the world. Sider 2001 argues for eternalism in the midst of a book length defense of a perdurance theory of persistence. Ciuni et al 2013, and Dyke 2021 are also useful. Eternalism is also of interest in other areas of philosophy – for example, Rogers 2009 argues that Anselm was an eternalist.
|Introductions||Good introductions include Rea 2003, Miller 2013, the collected papers in Ciuni et al 2013 and Markosian 2010.|
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